The Power of an Open Mindset

Published Monday, May 25, 2020

The Power of an Open Mindset

Melissa says one of the best outcomes of having a more open mindset was meeting her now husband, Josh Murphy. They started dating while she was still undergoing treatment and the two were married this past November. Melissa now goes for six month follow-up appointments with Dr. Haggarty. Things are going well again for Melissa. That being said, she knows it can be hard for others to remain positive during times of adversity. If she would give one word of advice to others, it would be to try and see through the dark times because if you can get through those, things will get better.

By Vanessa Masters, Health Promotion and Communications Planner

“I have a headache,” is not an uncommon phrase for many of us, but when Melissa Langille woke up with a headache one day, she knew there was something wrong.

Melissa graduated from Lakehead University in 2012 and moved to Fort Frances shortly after to begin her career as a teacher. A couple years later, she had the opportunity to move back home to Thunder Bay for work. She bought a house and life was heading in a good direction. Everything was looking great.
A short while later, Melissa woke up with a headache, which was unusual for her. The headache was painful enough that she went to the emergency department (ED) to get checked out. After passing neurological testing she returned home, but with worsening pain that night, she went back to the ED for repeat neurological testing and a CT scan. Results from the CT scan showed that she had a large brain tumour and that it would have to be removed.

A couple weeks later, Melissa was able to have the eight hour surgery to remove the tumour right here in Thunder Bay by Dr. Marchuk. While waiting on her pathology results (from Toronto), she moved back in with her parents for two months before any further treatment was taken. The pathology results indicated that the tumour was an atypical meningioma, a non-cancerous but faster-growing grade II tumour with a higher reoccurrence rate after removal. If you are interested in more information, you can visit

Radiation therapy was the next step in Melissa’s treatment. Although she had some fears, they were put to ease after a meeting with her radiation oncologist, Dr. Haggarty. “He really calmed my nerves by showing me the mapping of the radiation and introducing me to the staff that would be giving me the treatment,” she recalled. “The nurses in the radiation therapy department helped to make my visits to Regional Cancer Care Northwest less stressful. Their kindness and compassion was greatly appreciated.”

In total, Melissa completed 30 rounds of radiation therapy.

Throughout her treatment, Melissa accessed counselling through the Cancer Centre, which helped her through the process. “Going through this experience has changed my mindset and I am more open to new opportunities,” she said. After going through a couple counselling sessions, Melissa was motivated to start a national support group on Facebook for people with the same diagnosis as her.


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